We live in a modern world, with technology taking over almost all the aspects of our lives. Technology offers growth, comfort, and efficiency. On the one hand, where the blockchain technology offers us so many revolutionary ways to outgrow our previous successes while the same potential gets applied in the wrong direction; it takes no time to see a boon turning into a bane.
Look at the world around you. How calm it looks. Everyone carry on with their lives in their respective directions. Such things stop sounding normal when we come across facts such as 45 million men, women, and children are the victims of human trafficking, worldwide. Why are human beings trafficked? Well, human beings all around the world are trafficked for many reasons that include-
- Forced sexual exploitation
- Organ Harvesting
- Forced Marriages
- Forced Labor
- Forced Abortions for Stem Cell Harvesting
- Child slavery and so on.
Human Trafficking is a worldwide challenge. The places where the maximum crime rate is reported, include- Greater Mekong (Cambodia), China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. After the drug trade, human trafficking is considered to be the second largest industry of criminal income.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)-
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) since 2003 has collected more than 200,000 cases of human trafficking on the worldwide level. The target of human trafficking is often girls, women, children, and men. 35 percent of these victims are females. The victims are forced to do labor or undergo forced sex. It is happening all around us, in all the countries. The 2018 UNODC report revealed that the percentage of persons trafficked within the victim’s palace of origin has doubled to 58 percent!
On the other hand, the Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism Conference in New Kingston pointed out the dire need to eradicate the human traffickers “in the pocketbook.”
Bitcoin used in Human Trafficking-
The boiling issue was already enough a deep trouble that the person traffickers got their hands on a very intelligent technology to hide their criminal activities. Yes, the blockchain technology-based cryptocurrency, which was laid out to seek for a revolutionary growth, is being deeply misused. For instance, last year, Jamaican police reported that the human traffickers are now using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin (BTC) to hide the track of their funds. It has become a convenient law-escape route for them.
The ugly worldwide industry of human trafficking is growing at a rampant rate. Recently, it has crossed the dark milestone of 150 Billion U.S. Dollars. The issue was already very deceitful, hard to crack, and stealthy in nature. The added layer of crypto usage by the human traffickers has made the issue far more intrinsic and difficult.
Jamaica took the problem of Human Trafficking by its throat-
A few years ago, sadly, Jamaica was topping the charts when it came to human traffickers list. The country is putting in major efforts to fight this horrendous practice. It rescued 70 victims and convicted 4 human traffickers. With such efforts, the country is no more in that dark list.
Using Crypto in Human Trafficking is like the footprints of a bird in the sky!
The country is taking the matter of following the ‘money transfers trajectory’ made by human traffickers, to several global law enforcement bodies. Before cryptocurrency, black funds transfers, or black bank transfers, in-person money exchange or any kind of other forgery were some means that we’re still easy to catch hold off by the police in the country. But with the commencement of human traffickers using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the crime, it is getting far more difficult for the country’s police to nail the issue. Here is what the Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry has shared on the matter-
They are asking for payment in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, a new factor which creates problems for law enforcers.
‘Anonymity of the web’ acts as a perfect complementary trait for the human traffickers. It offers them a veil to hide behind. That is why the Jamaican police say that the use of the web for such dark deeds has only compounded the severity of the matter.
The Superintendent of Police Carl Berry has assured that they have come up with ways of handling the matter, and for obvious reasons has not opened up on the strategies. We just hope that not only law and order in Jamaica, but all over the world, outsmart the dark doers and burst them open to eradicate such deeds from the face of this earth.
Is Cryptocurrency a problem?
Of course not! Can we blame science for someone using human bombs to spread terrorism? Or can we blame the invention of computers for what hackers do? After all, it is all about the intention of the doer. Like, the use of any tool depends on the intentions of the user similarly the tool here- cryptocurrency is being manipulated.
Cryptocurrency in itself has massive potential, but in which direction this potential will be used is up to us. One thing is for sure though, if we- the human race can come up with such a dynamic invention, i.e. the cryptocurrency or blockchain broadly, then for sure, we can come up with some smart tweaks to rip off the bad usage of it.
Protect yourself from Human Trafficking-
On this “World Day Against Trafficking in Persons,” we would suggest you stay safe and spread the awareness about this world issue. Some points that come in handy for everyone alike are-
Human Trafficking situations-
- Stay away from too good to be true offers such as an offer for a huge salary for easy work in a remote place. In such situations, the offer is specially made by giving a hard pressing time limit to decide almost instantly!
- The ambiguity of lucrative offers is another red flag.
- Human trafficking situations, be it either domestic or international, or employment-based, they do not permit you to keep any social contact.
- Constant checks are made and there is no access to your own funds.
- Forced labor or sex with known or unknown people is another red flag.
- Violence, threats, verbal/emotional/physical abuse are strong red flags.
- Trust your gut. If any uncomfortable situation raises your inner alarm for the potential danger, instantly act on it. Don’t be lured by the false promises!
- Keep your family and social circle informed about your location or plans all the time. For extra measure, some safety phrase or lingo can be coined to inform your well-wishers to help you out in urgent times.
- No one– be it your partner or your employer has the right to keep your important original documents from you. Always keep them under your custody at all times, with no exceptions whatsoever!
- Keep emergency hotline numbers of police, and other such safety-oriented-numbers ready at all times.
- Maintain access to your bank accounts, communication methods, medications at all times.
- Be in practice of safe online browsing. Especially on public computers do not save any password, delete your browsing history, disable chat logs, etc.
- Use safety apps such as Circle of Six, BSafe, SafeTrek, etc. on your smartphones.
- Inform the police of any dodgy situation you have witnessed.
The safety tips topic around human trafficking is vast and needs a detailed description on several sub-categories. Staying vigilant about what is going around you, and keeping yourself safe with defense tactics under your sleeve all the time is your best friend.
On this “World Day Against Trafficking in Persons,” we would urge you to raise your safety bars and help everyone around you to stay safe by sharing this knowledge. It is not a problem of someone unknown out there; we all are equally vulnerable to it. This mutual problem can be tackled with unity. Let us build a safe world together.